I was recently in a theater in Seattle. A homeless man came and squeezed into the seat next to me just as the movie was to begin. His unkempt body, layered with jackets and loose fitting clothing extended beyond his own space into my own. The two gentlemen sitting next to him on the other side promptly switched places. This man was not clean. He had his belongings in his arms and on his lap. Somehow he managed his bag of popcorn as well, chomping quite loudly, completely unaware of his noisy contribution to the room full of people trying to watch a movie. He eventually spilled the rest of his popcorn on the floor, as his ability to hold onto all his belongings (maybe they really were ALL his belongings) hampered his ability to eat and sit and watch successfully.
I was torn between being afraid of him and wanting to treat him with dignity by letting him know I saw him.
He was a bit puzzled about the movie and loudly asked me a few questions. I answered them. He looked at me every time I laughed. It seemed he didn’t know how to laugh. He was confused. Heavy. In his own world. He told me he needed to leave about half way through the movie. As he squeezed by, I looked him in the eyes and said ‘goodnight’ with a smile. It was all I could do. I hoped it was something. I hoped it was a human connection that would touch somewhere in his soul.
I don’t know this man’s story. But the more I learn about the importance of connections, community and accountability, I begin to think there is not as wide of a chasm between his world and mine. Somewhere in his journey he lost his connections. Maybe he never had them. Maybe, even as a baby, there was no one who saw and loved and nurtured him. No one to tell him he was indeed precious.
My own childhood connections were weak at best. And there have been times as an adult where community was lost, and deep connections were nearly non-existent. I have felt a bit like the man in the theater; lost and confused at the plot of my own story. Sometimes I walk into a room feeling a bit like this man. Only no one sees it because I am dressed in clean and stylish clothes. I have a sense of my personal space and presence. I am skilled at not drawing any attention to my inner feelings of disconnectedness and being lost in the inside. I don’t spill my popcorn. Well, not very often, anyways.
But if I, too, lose my connection, community and accountability, I begin to slide into a sense of being lost. My thoughts become cloudy. I lose perspective. Sometimes I even begin to lose hope. The inner critic becomes intolerably loud, for there are no beautiful people to help me quiet the untruths rumbling in my head and soaking into my heart. Particularly with being a mom and a leader in my community, there is not often a place to be vulnerable and get those connections. Or there is not time to pursue the connection, because my responsibilities keep me busy.
I rarely find myself in that disconnected, self-condemning, cloudy state anymore. Life is still life, and the critical voice still lingers, but I have the connection, community and accountability that nips the crazy-feeling in the bud. I have the essentials for growth and clarity and confidence.
The gap between the lost man in the theater and the woman sitting next to him (me)…..is community, connection and accountability.
How are your connections? What is your community like? Do you have a few beautiful people who really know you and provide grace-filled accountability? Or does this seem quite impossible?
If you are on a journey to increase your nearly non-existent connections, community and accountability in order to be empowered to be your best amazing self, please feel free to schedule a complementary consultation! Together we will look at the best ways we can build your growth-team!
And if your connectedness empowers you, shoot me an email letting me know what you feel can sometimes be an obstacle to pursuing the connection you know you need.
Thanks for being on this journey of growth with me!